December 4 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 5, 2013
More than 80 motorists in Suffolk are driving with 12 or more penalty points on their licence, according to figures.
The revelation has provoked anger from road safety campaigners, who claim “selfish, irresponsible and potentially deadly drivers” are putting the public at risk on the county’s roads.
Figures compiled by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) showed a total of 87 drivers in Suffolk were still behind the wheel despite accruing 12 or more points.
The data, relating to statistics gathered in July 2013, revealed one Felixstowe motorist had accumulated 19 points but had escaped a ban. Three other Suffolk motorists had been issued with 16 points but are still on the road.
In Ipswich, 25 motorists were cleared to continue driving despite picking up 12 or more points, while a Colchester driver has racked up 30 points but still holds a valid driving licence.
Normally under the ‘totting up’ system motorists are issued with a temporary ban if they amass 12 points on their licence over a three-year period.
But magistrates can decide not to enforce a ban in exceptional cases.
Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer at road safety charity at Brake, branded it “outrageous” motorists fined 12 or more points were allowed to continue driving, arguing they were causing “enormous risk” to the public.
She said: “It’s time to get tough with these selfish, irresponsible and potentially deadly drivers, and put a stop to their illegal and dangerous driving before it results in a devastating crash.
“Drivers who repeatedly flout traffic laws have shown complete disregard for the lives of other road users. They have also had ample opportunity to desist breaking the law before reaching 12 points and facing disqualification.
“Brake is calling for the authorities to review the use of the ‘exceptional hardship’ clause as a way for offenders to evade a ban to protect the public from harm.”
Institute of Advanced Motorists chief executive Simon Best called for urgent consultation on new ways to deal with the “problem”, adding: “Drivers must expect that 12 points means a ban or the whole system falls into disrepute.”
A spokesman for HM Courts & Tribunals Service said: “The vast majority of drivers who get 12 or more penalty points are fined and disqualified from driving.
“Magistrates can use their discretion to not enforce a driving ban if doing so would cause exceptional hardship, such as losing a job or the ability to care for a dependant. A fine will still be enforced.
“Only a very small number of cases are affected by the data-sharing issue and we are working closely with DVLA to improve this.”
A DVLA spokesman said: “The DVLA’s role is to record the information provided by the courts. The courts are able to use their discretion to decide whether or not to disqualify a driver.”
Suffolk Magistrates’ Association was unavailable for comment.